The United States is blessed with some truly beautiful scenery. From the east coast to the west and everywhere in between, America is home to some of the world's most astonishing landscapes, with many of the country's most beautiful locations being given protected National Park or State Park status. Shenandoah National Park is one example.

Covering part of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is a long and narrow national park, stretching out across almost 200,000 acres or over 300 square miles in total. It was established back in 1935 and draws in more than a million visitors each year.

Some of the most popular things to do in Shenandoah National Park include camping and hiking, with lots of wonderful trails to follow and no less than five major campgrounds, as well as a few lodges and cabins dotted around too. Backcountry activities of all kinds can be enjoyed here, but one of the best attractions of all is the Skyline Drive.

Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park - Scenic Highway Drive

The most iconic part of Shenandoah National Park, the Skyline Drive is a 105 mile road that runs through the entire length of the park, ending at US Route 340 in the north and US 250 in the south. A National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Scenic Byway, the Skyline Drive is one of the most scenic roads in America.

Drivers and passengers fee like they're "riding the sky" as they travel along this scenic and historic mountain road. Winding its way north-south through the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Skyline Drive features no less than 75 scenic overlooks, with beautiful views of the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains all around, and chances to spot all kinds of wildlife like deer, bears, turkeys, and more.

Visiting the Skyline Drive

The Skyline Drive is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful drives available in any National Park, anywhere in North America. Here’s how you can visit and enjoy it for yourself:

- The Drive - The Skyline Drive is the only road in Shenandoah National Park, which is the only national park in Virginia. It runs for 105 miles in total from Front Royal in the north down to Waynesboro in the south. There are four main access points to Shenandoah National Park and onto the Skyline Drive: Front Royal at US 340, Thornton Gap at US 211, Swift Run Gap at US 33, and Rockfish Gap at I-64 and US 250.

- The Experience - The Skyline Drive has a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour. If you follow the whole road without really making any stops, you'll do it all in about three hours, but many people make the drive last a little longer by stopping at the various outlook points. You'll be able to see mile markers along the Skyline Drive to get an idea of how far you've gone and how far you still have to drive.

- The Overlooks - There are 75 overlooks in total along the Skyline Drive, offering parking spots and safe viewing out over the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the piedmont to the east. You'll be able to admire lots of colorful, beautiful flowers no matter what time of year you choose to visit, taking photos and maybe even catching a sight of some animals like deer and wild turkeys too. In fact, many of these animals, as well as bears, can be seen crossing over Skyline Drive throughout the day, so drivers need to be careful and vigilant, keeping an eye out for any of the local wildlife trying to get over the road to the other side.

- Admissions - Usually, you'll need to pay park fees to enter Shenandoah National Park and drive along the Skyline Drive. Fees vary, and there are various ways to get discounts. There are also several entrance fee free days throughout the year, celebrated at all National Park sites around the United States. The exact dates of these fee-free days can vary each year, but usually occur on special holidays like Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Park Neighbor Day, National Park Service Birthday, and Veterans Day.

- Opening Hours - Shenandoah National Park is always open throughout the year, but most of the visitor facilities only run in the season from March to November. The Skyline Drive can close down temporarily due to winter weather or other hazardous conditions too, so be sure to call 540 999 3500 or check out the park's social media accounts or official site for more info when planning your journey. website